History: Born and raised in Israel, I finished my army service at the age of 21 and travelled around South East Asia and Central America for a year and a half. On my return home, I began studying at university for a year before leaving in order to pursue a culinary career. I worked for FoodArt, an artisan catering company located in Tel Aviv and also started studying in Tadmor Culinary School in Hertzelia.
During my schooling, I moved to work in Pastis, a provincial style bistro and spent the next couple of years training under one of the most impotent chefs in Israel, gaining skills and experience. My next position was a sous chef position in Goocha, one of the busiest restaurants in Tel Aviv, specializing in light tapas-sized seafood dishes with strong Asian influences.
My last position in Israel was a chef de partie in Rafael, one of Israel’s premier restaurants, chosen that year (2008) as Restaurant of the Year by 'Time Out Tel Aviv'. Rafael combines high end French cooking with North African and Middle Eastern influences in a product driven kitchen.
In the beginning of 2009 I moved to Australia. My first job was at Shannon Bennett’s Bistro Vue as a chef de partie on the fish section and after a few months, I moved on to work for the company 'Jones the Grocer' also under Shannon Bennett, who was the consulting chef for the company, running their kitchen in Chadstone, Victoria and also helping with the opening and running of other kitchens in and out of Australia.
In May 2012 I moved to Berry and took over the kitchen at the Pavilion Restaurant in the Berry Boutique Motel, changing the focus to a local, seasonal produce driven, bistro style menu.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
Yes. I have been at home in the kitchen from a young age and have always loved food, different flavours and ingredients. I have always seen myself cooking for a living and still don’t see myself doing anything else.
How would you define your style?
Fresh, simple, bistro style food influenced by Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours and ingredients - lots of spices, herbs, fish and seafood.
What is your feature flavour these days?
Saffron, I love it. It's very wintery and I currently use it in two very popular dishes. Also winter vegetables; hairloom and baby ones in particular.
Obsessive compulsive about?
Quality of product. I bring in the best products and hand make everything in house. No cooking can cover up bad produce and very little is needed when produce is good.
Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences?
My first chef in Israel Eyal Lavi for the love of food and people and the passion to teach and pass on knowledge. Also British chef Rick Stein for love of simple, well made food and fresh local products.
What do you love about this business?
It's small - both the restaurant and motel here at Berry has a family feeling to it. The team is enthusiastic about making people as comfortable and at home as possible.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Fresh herbs - parsley, coriander and mint. I can't cook without them. Also good EV olive oil. I get mine from Kangaroo Valley just twenty minutes away from the restaurant.
Most ‘eyebrow raising’ menu item?
Mahalbia - an Egyptian dessert based on coconut milk, served with fruit and pistachio.
Signature dish: Local red snapper with burned eggplant, roast hairloom tomatoes and feta from the Southern Highlands.